LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
014 077 335 9
Mill Run F03-2193
THE STORY OF COTTON
AND ITS MANUFACTURE INTO CLOTH
Paper read at Meeting of the Old Dartmouth Historical Society,
By Henry H. Crapo
In the Series of Sketches
of New Bedford's Early History
THE STORY OF COTTON
The Old Dartmouth Historical Society traditionally ex-
ploits the romance of whaling. Yet during one third only of
the three hundred and more years of Old Dartmouth have whales
played an important part in our lives. For the first hundred
years, which unquestionably were the hardest, the pioneers,
when not engaged in asserting their antagonistic religious creeds,
were occupied in clearing the forests and cultivating a reluctant
soil for their subsistence. Their wives and children were en-
grossed, among other things, in spinning and weaving, by hand
in their homes, wool and flax and other fibres for clothing and
household use. It was during the next hundred years that Dart-
mouth vexed the seas, chasing and killing whales, and furnishing
the world with light. During the last one hundred years, roughly,
the people of New Bedford have busied themselves in spinning
and weaving cotton by machinery in factories for the use of
the world at large.
Without abandoning our allegiance to the royal mammal
of the Ocean it is fitting we call to remembrance that other master
of our destiny, — King Cotton.
Cotton is obtained from the gossamer filament enveloping
the seed of a plant indigenous in Southern India before the
earliest days of recorded history, — long before Jonah made his
intimate acquaintance with a whale. It is an annual plant,
dying down in the autumn and planted from seed in the spring.
Its flower is something like a mallow, cream turning to pink.
The seed vessel, or boll, in which the snowy white fibre is tightly
packed, is about the size of a walnut.
This cotton fibre, once called "vegetable wool", has proved
of astonishing importance in the social, economic, and political
history of the modern world. Within the last few hundred
years its manufacture into cloth and its distribution, have been
controlling factors in the development of the British Empire
and the prosperity of the United States. Cotton, in fact, has
been vastly more important than whale oil in the human drama.
Primitive man's first wants were food and protection
against weather. The aboriginal man soon found that twisting
fibres, either animal or vegetable, helped him in obtaining food,
— by bow strings, cords, fish lines, etc. In this sense spinning
was in use long before weaving. Then the women (I am sure
it was women who were originally responsible for the textile
industry) began to twist various strands of wool and flax and
jute, — whatever they could find — , and weave them into nets,
raiment, coverings, tents, and other conveniences for them-
selves and their men folks. Wool and flax were, at first, the
more available fibres. The use of cotton seems to have been
due to a desire to create something luxurious and aesthetically
satisfying. The arts of design, of colored patterns, of fine tex-
tures, were certainly stimulated by the discovery that the fragile
fibre of the cotton plant, and the cocoon webs of the silk worm,
could be spun and woven into delicate cloth.
For thirty centuries the cotton plant has been grown in
Southern India, and its fibre used for textiles. Persians, and
other Eastern peoples, at an early date, decorated cotton fabrics
with elaborate designs. No doubt fine India muslins were early
imported into Egypt, where the main textile crop was flax grown
on the Delta and along the river shores of the Nile. Most of
the exquisite fabrics found in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians
are of linen. Slowly, however, and apparently in defiance of
religious taboos, (no doubt founded on economic reasons), the
Egyptians, several centuries before Christ, discovered their soil
and climate were especially available for the cultivation of the
cotton plant. Egyptian cotton, because of its long staple, has
been one of the most desirable cottons of the world. Because
of its restricted areas of cultivation, and short seasons, the
supply has been limited.
It is somewhat astonishing that the very earliest specimens
of highly wrought and decorated cotton textiles are of Peru-
vian origin. Centuries before Columbus discovered America
cotton was grown in Peru, Chili, Mexico, and the islands of the
Caribbean Sea. This fact raises an interesting speculation whether
the cotton plant was indeed indigenous in South America, or
whether it was brought across the Pacific Ocean from India.
If, indeed, the cotton seed was brought from India, it is one of
the many indications that the early civilization of the Americas
was derived from Asia.
The knowledge of cotton was slow in penetrating modern
Europe. Alexander the Great brought it to Greece. The
Phoenicians and others carried the fabrics to Italy and Spain
many years before the Christian era. When Columbus, in
1492, discovered what he supposed was India, he found the
natives using cotton cloth, and took back to Spain specimens of
cotton boll as evidence that he had, indeed, reached India. He
little knew that in those seed vessels was potential wealth im-
measurably exceeding all the treasures of gold and precious
jewels which Spain subsequently extracted from the western
When Cortes conquered Mexico (H19) he sent back to
his emperor, Charles V. "cotton mantles, some all white, others
mixed with white and black or red, green, yellow and blue;
waist-coats, handkerchiefs, counterpanes, tapestries, and carpets
of cotton." The royal robes of Montezuma and of the Incas
were of cotton dyed and studded with jewels. Yet it was not
cotton the Spaniards craved. With their destruction of the
civilization of the Aztecs and Incas the high cultivation and the
fine weaving of cotton ceased. The plant, however, continued
to grow wild in South America, Mexico and the West Indies,
and, to some extent, was used by the natives for coarse cloths.
For two and a half centuries and more after Columbus it is
doubtful whether cotton was indigenous or cultivated to any
extent in any part of the territory now included in the United
States, although cotton cloth was not entirely unknown to some
of the North American Indians.
It was, indeed, not until shortly before the American Revo-
lution that cotton was actively cultivated in what are now our
Southern States. Certain planters in Virginia, grown rich by
the cultivation of tobacco, had used cotton bushes in their elab-
orate gardens as decorative shrubs. Gradually cotton was raised
in Georgia and the Carolinas as a subsidiary crop. Not until
the nineteenth century did our Southern States become far and
away the greatest producers of raw cotton in the world, supply-
ing England and all other countries with the fibre which had
then become all important in the commerce and industry of
India, Egypt and, finally to a greater extent, the Southern
States of the United States, became and still are the important
producers of cotton, although a number of other localities have
instituted and in some degree succeeded in raising the plant.
There are various varieties of cotton, usually classified by the
staple length of the fibre. Egyptian cotton is of the longer staple,
and the Sea Island cotton, once grown abundantly off the coasts
of Georgia and Florida, and now, to some extent elsewhere in
our Southern States, is also of high grade. It is the long staple
cotton, desirable for the finer weaves of goods, which, during
the last half century has been the type largely used in New
The man who, above all others, is responsible for the
amazing increase in the world's use of raw cotton was a Yankee
named Eli Whitney, born in Westboro, Massachusetts, in 1765.
Graduating at Yale College he obtained a position as tutor in
Georgia. Visiting the family of the widow of General Nathaniel
Green, of Revolutionary fame, he happened to be present at a
dinner company, perhaps on Cumberland Island, where certain
planters were discussing the intolerably slow process of ex-
tracting the seeds from the cotton fibre by hand, as had, of
course, always been done from the earliest days. Mrs. Green
(who had married Phineas Miller, a college chum of Whitney's)
said: "Mr. Whitney, why don't you get up something to do the
work? You seem able to do anything!" Whitney replied: "As
for cleaning cotton seed, I shouldn't know it if I saw it." The
next day, however, he watched cotton being separated from the
bolls by the sweating slaves, and soon went to work in earnest.
This story, I fear, may be somewhat apocryphal, certainly
as to the conversation, and possibly as to the locus. At all
events it was my privilege, last Spring, to visit Cumberland
Island and stand on the site of General Green's mansion, now
torn down, where it is said Whitney received his inspiration.
Nearby still stands the low tabby building which General Green
vised as an Office, and which, very likely, Whitney used for ex-
perimental drafting. In the days of General Green, and for
half a century later, more than one thousand slaves cultivated
"Sea Island cotton" on Cumberland Island, now covered with
pitch pine forests and semitropical vegetation.
Eli Whitney did, in fact, devise a machine called a saw-gin
("gin" is merely a colloquial abbreviation of en-gin (e) ). The
result was incredibly revolutionary. A single gin had the
capacity of three thousand pair of hands in separating the fibre
from the seeds. In 1792, before the invention of the gin, the
United States exported only 130,000 lbs. of cotton. In 1810,
only a few years after the invention, 3 5,000,000 lbs. were ex-
ported. The maximum production of raw cotton in the United
States has since exceeded 5,000,000,000 lbs. forming the most
valuable money crop of the country.
Whitney obtained a patent in 1794, signed by George Wash-
ington in Philadelphia. As so often is the case with inventors
Whitney derived no adequate pecuniary reward for his epoch
making contrivance, which so immensely stimulated the culti-
vation and production of cotton in our Southern States, bring-
ing vast wealth to the planters, and largely contributing to the
secession of those States from the Union in 1862.
Within a year or two there has been found in Wilkes
County, Georgia, an original hand driven Whitney cotton gin.
Mr. Victor S. Dupres, who now lives on the old Eli Whitney farm
in Westboro, has interested himself in obtaining this machine
together with the old gin-house in which it was used one hun-
dred and forty years ago, for the purpose of bringing it to
Massachusetts as a memorial to the man who so largely contrib-
uted to the feasibility of the New England cotton industry.
Mr. Dupres sent me a photograph of this machine which is now
in our Museum.
The crude implements used by the Hindoos in spinning and
weaving cotton, modified and improved as time went on, yet
not essentially changed, continued in use for many centuries in
Asia, Africa, and Europe. The hand turned spinning wheel,
and the common hand loom, practically similar to those used
by the housewives of Old Dartmouth in the eighteenth century
(now on exhibition in our Colonial Museum) were the univer-
sal implements, and, indeed, to some extent, are still used all the
It was during the latter half of the eighteenth century
that, through the ingenuity and enterprise of Englishmen,
machines were invented, operated by steam or water power,
which transformed the manufacture of cotton textiles from a
manual into a mechanical process, and revolutionized the social
and the political life of England, and later of the United States.
"The factory system has not, perhaps, produced better fabrics,
but it has produced them more quickly, more easily, and in
vaster greater quantity." It is only in very modern times that
attempts have been made to excel the fine weaves and the in-
comparable designs of Oriental and Peruvian hand products.
A brief enumeration of some of these mechanical inventions
which caused the "English Industrial Revolution" is: — 1710.
James Hargreaves, the spinning jenny; — 1738. John Kay
the fly shuttle; — 1768. Richard Arkwright, the spinning
frame; — 1779. Samuel Crompton, the mule; — 1786. Ed-
mund Cartwright, the power loom. In reference to the last
named invention it is interesting that Mr. Cartwright was a
minister of the gospel, in no way trained to the practical art of
weaving. This is another illustration of the numerous remark-
able inventions which have been evolved by men who were
strangers to the industry involved.
It was some years later, in 1804, that Joseph Marie Jacquard
of France, invented the loom which is still designated by his
name. Napoleon Bonaparte hearing of this invention sent for
Jacquard and asked him: "Are you the man who can do what
God Almighty can not, — tie a knot in a taut string?" To
which Jacquard replied: "I can not do what God cannot, but
what God has taught me to do." The loom was, originally, ar-
ranged with weighted strings passing over a pulley and falling
into perforated cards. Each motion changed the position of the
strings, allowing some to go through the holes and draw up the
warp thread so it was skipped, while others struck the cards
and left the strands in place to be woven by the shuttle. In
this way the weaver could pass his thread over, under, or through
the warp as required by the design of the perforated cards. It
was the first efficient machine to do elaborate design weaving.
As has been often the case the opposition of labor was so great
that the loom was destroyed by fire in public places, and Jac-
quard compelled to flee for his life from France. In New Bed-
ford, which in the last quarter of the last century turned
to "fine goods" and "fancies" the modernized cotton Jacquard
loom has been largely used.
There naturally have been innumerable inventions and im-
provements of cotton power machinery. I mention only two.
In 1831 John Sharp of Providence improved the spindle by a
ring device. In 1888 George Draper and Sons of Hopedale,
Massachusetts, developed a highly efficient power loom, now
known as the "Draper Automatic Loom" with which many of
our New Bedford mills are equipped.
COTTON INDUSTRY IN NEW ENGLAND
PRIOR TO 1845
The art of hand spinning and weaving wool, flax, and cot-
ton was known to many of the first settlers of New England,
and its practice encouraged for the common good. In 1640 the
General Court of Massachusetts ordered a survey of spinning
and weaving, seeking a method of teaching the boys and girls
of all towns. In 165 6 the Court ordered the Selectmen in every
town "to turn women, boys, and girls towards weaving" and
decreed that every family in the colony must produce a fixed
quota of yarn and cloth, or suffer a fine for failure.
Before the American Revolution such cotton as was used
came from the West Indies, and practically all finished cloths,
not wrought on household looms, were imported. It was the
deliberate policy of the English Government to suppress manu-
factures of whatever kind in its colonies. With the advent of
the stamp act and the secession of the colonies from the mother
country, the manufacture of cloth on this side of the Atlantic
Ocean sprang into being. Co-operative spinning and weaving
was started in Rowley and Ipswich, Massachusetts, and in the
South as well. A tentative "cotton factory" was started in
Beverley, Massachusetts in 1787. In 1789 George Washington
visited this mill and highly approved the enterprise. The mill,
however, was not successful yet it actually made cotton goods
by machinery before the more famous Slater Mill at Pawtucket.
In 1789 Samuel Slater, who may fairly be called the "Fath-
er of the Cotton Industry in the United States" came to Rhode
Island. He was born in Belper, Derbyshire, England in 1768.
He had worked for Arkwright. He interested Moses Brown and
William Almy, men of prominence in Providence, to enable him
to build cotton machinery and established a factory at Paw-
tucket. In 1790 the mill was operating. It was, at first, exclu-
sively a spinning mill, the yarn being sold throughout New
England to "cottage weavers." "The old Slater Mill',' of which
Rhode Island is immensely proud, still stands on the bank of the
rushing Blackstone River, — now a museum.
Within a few years many small cotton mills were built in
New England and the Southern States. During the next two
decades a few larger mills were attempted in New England. The
fever struck Fall River, then called Troy Village. The Durfees
and the Bordens were moving spirits. The Troy Manufacturing
Company was organized in 1817. Soon other mills were suc-
cessfully operated by the marvelous waterpower of the river.
By 1833 there were thirteen mills in Fall River with 40,000
spindles. Some of the surplus capital of New Bedford was in-
vested in these mills. The Rodmans and Robesons were actively
interested. Other, and larger, mills were started in Lowell,
Manchester, Lancaster, and other New England cities. During
the first half of the nineteenth century the manufacture of cot-
ton cloth, both in the Northern and the Southern States, be-
came one of the most important industries of the United States.
NEW BEDFORD MILLS
Old Dartmouth was slow in paying obeisance to King Cot-
ton. So long as whale oil and whale bone were supremely re-
munerative the royal Leviathan of the Sea held us in sway. Why,
indeed, should we have turned to such a super-antiquated and
prosaic source of revenue as the manipulation of cotton fibre?
The whale fishery completely dominated the town. Before 1845
there were no "factories" of any kind in Old Dartmouth, save
grist mills, a small woolen mill in Acushnet, a small iron factory,
called the Gosnold Mill on the river, and sundry industries
directly connected with whaling, such as ship building, spar
making, rope twisting, cordage, cooperage, sail making, out-
fitters supplies, candle works etc., etc. Surplus capital of
our merchants was apt to be invested outside of Dartmouth, in
maritime or commercial enterprises, or the new fangled steam
railroads, or iron and nail factories.
A few months ago, dismantling the residence of Captain
Joseph C. Delano, a letter addressed to the Captain by George
Randall, dated February 15, 1847, was found. Mr. Randall the
owner, or part owner, of Fish Island, set this forth a proposal to
"improve the north side of the Island — this spot," he wrote
"will possess advantages equal, if not superior, to anything in the
United States for driving machinery by steam — My present
opinion is that a large iron manufactury, and one for cotton
duck, would be very desirable and profitable." Clearly cotton
was subordinate to iron. Mr. Randall's dreams did not mater-
ialize. The manufacture of iron, or, indeed, of cotton duck were
not destined to be developed in New Bedford. As to the north
part of Fish Island it is today, nearly a hundred years later, still
largely devoted to oil, — but not of whales.
Samuel Rodman may, perhaps, be called the "Father of the
New Bedford Cotton Industry". In 1845 he conceived the
idea of establishing a cotton mill here. On February 30, 1846,
some two months before the speculative incorporation of the
Wamsutta Mills, the Massachusetts General Court incorporated
Samuel Rodman, Alden G. Snell, William R. Rotch and their
associates and successors under the name of the "New Bedford
Steam Mill Company" for the purpose of manufacturing "cot-
ton goods and the grinding of corn," limiting the capital to
$160,000. The mill, under the superintendence of Alden G.
Snell, was built on Rodman's wharf near the foot of Hillman
Street. It commenced operating in November 1846, more than
two years before the Wamsutta Mills was in effective opera-
tion. In 1849, according to the New Bedford Directory, the
"Steam Mills" ran 7,500 spindles and turned out 25,000 yards
of 39 inch sheeting per week."
In his incomparable diary Mr. Rodman noted in detail his
absorption in the construction of the Steam Mill and the dif-
ficulties of its operation which were evidently baffling, due to
disputes about wages, insufficient capital and, as he believed, a
lack of efficiency of his selling agents in Boston. In the end
the operation became too onerous for Mr. Rodman and in 1852
it was decided to discontinue it, the machinery being moved to
the "Shaker's Mill" at Shirley.
Yet the impulse to manufacture cotton in New Bedford
was in the air soon after 1840. Abraham Howland, Joseph C.
Delano and Henry T. Wood as early as 1846 conceived the idea of
a cotton manufacturing enterprise to be called the "Wamsutta
Mills". A charter was obtained April 9th, 1846 by Mr. How-
land then a member of the General Court. The incorporators
were named as Jireh Perry, Matthew Luce, Thomas S. Hathaway,
and their associates. The charter enabled the corporation to
manufacture cotton, wool, or iron. Mr. Howland, however,
found his fellow citizens cautious about going into such a new
and untried industry. The enerprise la^
In 1840 Dwight Perry of Fairhaven went to Georgia where
he operated a small cotton mill. He had in his employ another
fairhaven youngster — Thomas Bennett. Bennett became en-
thusiastic about cotton manufacturing and, returning to New
Bedford, induced William T. Russell to go with him to Georgia
for the purpose of there establishing a mill fostered by New
Bedford capital. The plan appearing to the promoters feasible,
Joseph Grinnell, far and away the most progressive merchant in
New Bedford, was consulted. Mr. Grinnell had been in the
India and China trade in New York. He was a banker. He was
a member of the Congress of the United States. He had vision
and was singularly alive to the ever changing impulses of the
world about him. He had already been responsible for the
steam railroad to Taunton which opened New Bedford to the
world — by land. He was a Quaker. He was not impulsive.
After careful consideration he decided to sponsor a cotton mill,
but only on condition it be established, not in the South, but in
New Bedford, where the investors could watch it.
The public opinion of New Bedford was strongly against
"corporations" of any kind. The mechanics were especially
against a "factory" because "organized and disciplined labor and
longer hours of mill work were inimical to the labor interests".
It would, manifestly, be necessary to import trained overseers
and operatives to the detriment of the natives. The merchants,
also, still engrossed in the whaling industry, were disinclined to
embark on such a hazardous voyage as cotton manufacturing.
Mr. Grinnell headed the list of subscribers for the new mill
with $10,000, yet it was with great difficulty that only $160,000
could be raised, mostly in small subscriptions. The speculative
charter, with the name "Wamsutta Mills", obtained by Abraham
Howland, was taken over. Joseph Grinnelll was made President,
and so continued for nearly twenty years. Thomas Bennett,
to whom Mr. Grinnell graciously gave the credit for the eventual
success of the mill, was made "Agent and Engineer", and so acted
for twenty-seven years. Edward L. Baker who had been largely
responsible for obtaining reluctant subscriptions was made Treas-
The original plans called for a mill of 16,000 spindles and
200 looms. In 1853 a second mill was started. Finally there
were eight mills having a maximum of 236,000 spindles and
7,300 looms, constituting one of the largest cotton units in the
United States. The quality of its products have been appreciated
in many parts of the world. Our grandmothers, and, I dare say,
our granddaughters, have considered "Wamsutta Sheets" of
In view of the fact that the Wamsutta Mills was highly
successful, having paid in the first twenty-five years dividends
over 300' , of its capital, and in view of the fact that the whale
fishery continued to decline after the Civil War, it now seems
curious that for more than a quarter of a century no other cot-
ton mill was established in New Bedford.
It was in 1871 the "Potomska Mills" was built, Edward and
Hiram Kilburn and Andrew G. Pierce, Senior, being actively
In November 1881 came the "Acushnet Mills", Joseph F.
Knowles and Horatio Hathaway being the leading spirits.
In March 1882 the "Grinnell Manufacturing Corporation"
was organized, Edward Kilburn and Otis N. Pierce, President
In 1882 the "New Bedford Manufacturing Co." came into
existence, William D. Howland being the promoter and execu-
tive head. Later in 1888 Mr. Howland organized the "How-
land Manufacturing Company" (subsequently the Gosnold
In 1888 the "City Manufacturing Co." was started with
Otis N. Pierce as President. In the same year the "Hathaway
Manufacturing Co.", under the leadership of Joseph F. Knowles
and Horatio Hathaway came into existence.
In 1889 Frank R. Hadley, Henry Holcomb and others
built the "Bennett Mills" and subsequently the "Columbia".
These were spinning mills.
In 1892 the "Pierce Manufacturing Company" was estab-
lished by Andrew G. Pierce, Jr. In the same year the "Bristol"
with Thomas H. Knowles as President and Benjamin Wilcox as
Treasurer. Also the same year the "Rotch Spinning Company"
(subsequently the Passaic Cotton Mills) under practically the
same management as the Howland Mills.
In 188 5 the "Dartmouth Mills" was promoted through the
efforts of Abbott P. Smith and Rufus A. Soule. In later years
this mill came under the successful management of Walter H.
In 1895 Messrs. Harding and Whitman of Boston established
the "Whitman Mill". This was the first of our cotton mills to
be promoted by other than New Bedford Citizens.
In 1896 the "Beacon Mills" under the management of
Charles D. Owen and Charles O. Dexter of Providence, Rhode
Island, was organized and made cotton blankets and other
In 1902 the "Butler Mills", named for William M. Butler,
and the "Soule Mill", named for Rufus A. Soule, were estab-
lished. Abbott P. Smith was the promoter.
In 1903 the "Manomet Mills" were built by the Harding-
Whitman interests, Charles M. Holmes being the Agent.
In 1904 the "Kilburn Mill", a spinning mill, was organized
under the management of Henry L. Tiffany.
In 1906 the "Taber Mill" was built under the leadership of
Frederick Taber, his son Frederick H. Taber, Rufus Soule, Abbott
P. Smith and others.
In 1906 the "Nonquitt Spinning Mill" was established by
Willliam Whitman. In the same year was organized the "Page
Mill" under the leadership of John W. Knowles.
In 1909 the "Nashawena Mills" was started by William
Whitman, the "Pierce Bros. Limited" by Andrew, Edward and
Albert Pierce, and the "New Bedford Cotton Mill" of which
William M. Butler was President and James O. Thompson Agent.
In 1910 five more mills were built. The "Holmes Mill", a
Harding project, Charles M. Holmes being the manager; The
"Booth Mill", Charles E. Riley, President, and George H. Booth
Treasurer; The "Neild Manufacturing Co." by John Neild and
Joseph W. Allen; The "Quissett Mill", promoted by Abbott P.
Smith, William M. Butler being President, Thomas F. Glennon
and Edward H. Cook being actively interested; The "Sharp
Mills" established by Arthur R. Sharp of Providence, Robert
Schofield being manager.
Since 1910 no additional mills have been constructed, al-
though extensions and improvements have, in some cases, been
made. Several of the older mills have been torn down. Some
now carry new names. A number have been acquired by inter-
ests outside New Bedford and operated for various forms of
industry other than the production of cotton cloth.
There was one interlude in the history of our cotton in-
dustry which had far reaching effects. In 1898 after the fail-
ure to make good of most of our then existing yarn mills, Kid-
der Peabody and Company, a Boston firm of bankers, under the
guidance of Robert Winsor, purchased the control of a number
of these mills, as well as a few located elsewhere, and organized
the New England Cotton Yarn Co., as a holding company.
Henry C. Sibley was Treasurer and Arthur Sharp General
Manager. During the earlier stages of this enterprise several
New Bedford men were connectd with it, Andrew G. Pierce,
Jr., Joseph F. Knowles, James E. Stanton, Jr., Thomas F. Glen-
non, Frank H. Gifford and others. The entire management
finally was in the hands of F. Buckley Smith of Worcester. For
some years the general office of the Company was in the room
in which we are now assembled. The enterprise was a failure and
the several mills were sold, one by one, and, for the most part,
converted into cloth mills.
Our mills were at first built near tide water, utilizing the
salt water for condensing purposes. The average high humidity
of the Buzzards Bay atmosphere does not appear to have been a
controlling factor in the original development of our cotton
industry, although it became an important influence in stimul-
ating the subsequent growth of the business. Mechanical hu-
midifiers have largely nullified this natural advantage.
In the early days each mill was surrounded by a village
maintained by the mill where the operatives lived. Young girls
from neighboring farms were employed working ten to twelve
hours a day, and boarded and cared for in mill boarding houses.
Most of our earlier cotton mills were designed to receive
raw cotton, cleaning, combing, and spinning it into yarn of
various degrees of fineness, and weaving the yarn into a great
variety of cloth "in the grey". The mills generally were planned
as complete co-ordinated units. In the early days the woven
grey goods were mostly "plain" goods, such as sheetings, shirt-
ings, calicos, and the like. About 1876 "fine" goods for ladies
wear, curtains, and other "fancies" were featured. A few mills
specialized in yarn production alone. The grey goods were sold
to "converters", or directly to wholesale buyers, who ordered
them sent elsewhere for "finishing", that is to say, bleaching,
dyeing, printing, mercerizing, or other manipulation, trans-
forming them into finished products for final distribution to the
ultimate consumers. In New Bedford there have been no con-
siderable attempts to "finish" goods. However, the Mount
Hope Finishing Company, situated in North Dighton (1901),
(because of chemically pure water), was organized by Joseph
F. Knowles, and has since been owned and operated by New
Bedford men, under the highly successful management of Joseph
K. Milliken, a nephew of Mr. Knowles. The "finishing" of cot-
ton goods is a story by itself.
In the above cursory enumeration of the cotton mills of
New Bedford no attempt is made to tell their individual his-
tories, their several noteworthy accomplishments, the multiplicity
of their products, their outstanding successes and vicissitudes,
or the dramatic stories of the men who conceived and directed
them. The struggles, the changing viewpoints, the hopes un-
realized, the tragedies involved, would make a thrilling saga of
this Old Dartmouth town. To do justice to such a subject many
folios would be required.
Forty years ago Thomas B. Reed said of New Bedford —
"If it's sturdv people could no longer roam the seas conquering
its hugest monster, they could make the spindles whirl with
successful life on shore. The Earth has got to be very shifty to
get out of the grasp of a people equally at home on land and
water." Our spindles have since whirled and our looms woven
with such skill and in such volume, that New Bedford became the
third largest cotton city of the country, and admittedly the lead-
ing centre of the fine goods manufacturing.
At the height of the prosperity of our cotton industry,
about the year 1920, there were in New Bedford, twenty-eight
cotton establishments, operating seventy mills, having 3,594,138
spindles, 5 5,679 looms, and employing 41,3 80 operatives. Our
neighbor Fall River was a close rival. Bristol County, as a
whole, was by far the largest producer of cotton goods of any
locality of the same area in the United States. During the hectic
prosperity of the World War period both wages and dividends
soared to unprecedented heights.
Then came the debacle. We crashed from our pinnacle in
company with most of the cotton mills in New England. The
loss in spindles in the country at large has been nearly 50', ; the
value of the products 30 r t ; with, of course, a corresponding de-
crease in the return of our wage earners and a very much greater
proportionate loss in dividends to the stockholders. Many mills
throughout New England were forced into bankruptcy, liquid-
ated, and torn down.
The cause of this downfall was not solely due to the world's
"hang-over" from the orgy of the Great War, a condition which
has come to be known as the "Great Depression". For some years
previous to the War there had been in the United States a pro-
duction of cotton goods in excess of the remunerative demand.
So far as New England is concerned the old bugbear of Southern
competition ceased to be an obsession and became a distressing
reality. As a matter of fact the North had again invaded the
South, not as it did in 1862 with bayonets and cannon, but with
spindles and looms. Between 1921 and 1933 there was a de-
crease in the square yard production of purely cotton goods (of
over twelve inches in width) in New England of 43',, and an
increase in the cotton growing states of 77' , , the increase for
the whole country being only 17' , .
In New Bedford we now have only 30, instead of 70, mills;
17 establishments instead of 28; 66', less spindles, 5 5 '", less
looms, and the number of our operatives has decreased 66 % .
The nominal capital of the mills has decreased 64' , and the mar-
ket value of the capital stock egregiously more.
The loss of property and the consequent means of livelihood
of our citizens has been devastating. It involved the loss of
wages of the operatives of the cotton mills and the wages of all
other workers, and the loss of income to thousands of our people
who had invested their savings in the stock of our mills. To at-
tempt to minimize this withering loss is futile. For not a few
of our people their life savings, their thrift, their hope of a rea-
sonable support to make old age independent of charity, have
"gone with the wind".
And yet there are indications of a rosier tomorrow.
"For blessings ever wait on virtuous deeds,
And, though a late, a sure reward succeeds."
During the last decade the population of the country has
increased out of proportion to the manufacture of cotton goods.
We may, perhaps, hope for a return of a better economic balance
in general business conditions. If so it is reasonable to expect this
increased population will call for cotton cloth, or fabrics of
which cotton is the base. Then, too, there is the somewhat heart-
less consolation that "in the ruthless process of the survival of
the fittest the position of the remaining mills has been greatly
fortified". At all events we have, fortunately, sustained no
such devastating tragedy as the discovery of petroleum oil
which once laid us low. We may still believe that the "shifty"
earth, as Tom Reed termed it, will not get out of our grasp.
Another, even more important, element in King Cotton's
set back has been the innate tendency of human beings to in-
vent new needs. For instance, the ladies, who, after all, are the
final arbiters of business, saw fit to spurn cotton as raiment.
In their affluence they turned to silk. With less expansive times
they turned to "artificial silk" now called "rayon". During the
last decade there has been, in this country, a considerable pro-
duction of this new fibre. In 1923 there were 2 5,000 rayon
looms. In 193 3 there were 47,000 rayon looms, of which more
than half were in New England. Today, doubtless, there are
Rayon, a word of American origin, in England called "ar-
tificial silk", is a synthetic glossy fibre made by forcing at high
pressure a viscous solution of cellulose through minute holes.
Cellulose is obtained from the cell walls of woody shrubs and
trees. So extensively have several of our remaining New Bed-
ford mills turned to rayon, used in combination with cotton,
that they can hardly any longer properly be called "cotton"
mills. It would almost seem that King Cotton has, at least here-
abouts, taken a consort to enhance his ascendency. Surely he has
not abdicated, nor is his throne in jeopardy. New objectives,
new methods, new ministers, will preserve the dynasty. The
lately invented mechanical cotton picker may yet vie with Eli
Whitney's gin. — If the ladies no longer want voluminous skirts
and petticoats, The King can furnish miles of fabric for the con-
struction of state highways, and automobile tires for every man,
woman and child in the country. It seems we may reasonably
expect that the fragile gossamer enveloping the seed of the ages-
old cotton plant will still continue to wield its potent sway.
relating to New Bedford
Edgar F. Taber, Jr.
Note. The word "Manager" is used, in most cases, to designate the Executive
Head of the mill to avoid the confusion of the various titles of Agent, Super-
intendent, Treasurer or President.
NEW BEDFORD STEAM CO.
Inc. Feb. 3, 1846
Formed shortly before the Wamsutta, the N. B. Steam Co.
was the first cotton mill in the city. It was located near the foot
of Hillman St. President George Hussey, treasurer Samuel
Rodman, manager Alden G. Snell; Bethnel Penniman, Thomas
C. Allen, William R. Rotch were additional directors. The
capacity of the mill was 7,5 00 spindles. Its capital was limited
to $100,000 not all paid in. The mill was not successful, and was
discontinued in 18 52. The corporation was not formally dis-
solved, however, until 1931.
Inc. April 8, 1846
Maximum capital $6,000,000
Joseph Grinnell was first president. Edward L. Baker first
treasurer, with David R. Greene, Thomas Mandell, Joseph C.
Delano, Pardon Tillinghast and Thomas Bennett Jr. directors.
The success of the mill may be in large part attributed to the
genius of Mr. Bennett, for many years manager. Under his
management additions were built in 1854-55, 1865, and 1870.
Subsequent managers included Edward Kilburn, Edward R.
Milliken, William J. Kent, Andrew G. Pierce, Edward T. Pierce,
Arthur L. Emery, William O. Buzzell and Charles F. Broughton.
On April 6, 1924 the Wamsutta suffered the worst mill fire in
the city's history. The Wamsutta is still operating after 90
years, although part of the original mill, no. 1, was leased in
193 5 to the Narragansett Shirt Co.
Maximum capital $1,800,000
James Robinson was first president and treasurer of the
Potomska, with the following directors: David S. Wood, clerk;
William J. Rotch, Charles L. Wood, Andrew G. Pierce, Matthew
Howland, William Watkins, and Henry F. Thayer. Operations
were begun in 1873. Original capital was $600,000, increased
to $1,200,000 when a second unit was added in 1877. Hiram
Kilburn was manager until 1884, when he was succeeded by
Manly U. Adams. Other managers have been William O. Devoll,
Charles E. Brady, Francis O. McDevitt, and Willliam O. Buzzell.
The Potomska was sold to the Potomska Corporation, a
subsidary of General Cotton, for liquidation, on Dec. 13, 1934.
In 1 93 S the land and buildings were taken by the city for taxes,
and the buildings were demolished as a WPA project in 1935-36.
Inc. Dec. 22, 1881
Maximum capital $2,000,000
looms 3,5 34
The Acushnet was organized in 1881 with Horatio Hath-
away as president, and Joseph F. Knowles manager. Other mem-
bers of the board of directors were Jonathan Bourne, William
W. Crapo, Thomas H. Knowles, William A. Robinson, Francis
Hathaway, Loum Snow Jr., Gilbert Allen, and Thomas E.
Brayton. The mill building, located on the waterfront north
of Cove Road, was completed in 1883 and operations were be-
gun in that year. A second mill was built in 1887. Subse-
quent managers included Robert H. Bartlett, J. F. Knowles Jr.
and James E. Stanton Jr. On Feb. 27, 1897 the mill was the
scene of the worst boiler explosion in the history of the city,
when two men were killed and others injured. Although the
mill was modernized in the 20's, on Nov. 21, 1929 the directors
voted to liquidate. After the machinery had been sold, on March
6, 1931 the contract was awarded to tear down the building.
The final liquidating dividend was paid March 8, 1932.
GRINNELL MFG. CO.
Inc. March 14, 1882
Maximum capital $1,500,000
spindles 3,13 5
Edward Kilburn was original president of the Grinnell,
with Otis N. Pierce, treasurer, Wm. J. Kent, manager, and James
W. Allen, bookkeeper. Other directors included Stephen A.
Jenks, William F. Draper, Thomas M. Stetson, Joseph A. Beau-
vais, Andrew G. Pierce, Thomas B. Wilcox, John W. Macumber,
Charles W. Plummer, and Horatio Hathaway. Subsequent man-
agers included N. B. Kerr, Joseph W. Webster, Treas. and Fred
Steele. Liquidation of the Grinnell was voted Jan. 7, 1927.
Part of the property was sold to the Revere Copper and Brass,
Inc. The remainder was sold to William Rocklin for dismant-
N. B. MANUFACTURING CO.
Charles W. Clifford was first president, with William D.
Howland, treasurer and Byron F. Card, general manager. Dir-
ectors: — Oliver P. Brightman, Charles W. Clifford, Edmund
Grinnell, Charles W. Plummer, Edward T. Pierce, William D.
Howland, and David Wood. The plant, located at the foot of
North St., was originally a spinning mill with 17,088 spindles
and finally increased to 40,000.
The New Bedford Manufacturing Company went into in-
solvency in 1897, was taken over by its creditors, and a new
corporation was formed called the New Bedford Spinning
Company with Edward Kilburn as president, Frank H. Gifford,
treasurer, Thomas F. Glennon, manager, and the directors in-
cluded Edward Kilburn, Frank H. Gifford, Gilbert Allen,
William W. Crapo and Otis N. Pierce.
This mill continued under that management for two years
until 1899 when the New England Cotton Yarn Co. was formed
and this plant together with other yarn mills was purchased by
the New England Cotton Yarn Company.
In 1917 it was sold to the Passaic Cotton Mills, later the
American Cotton Fabric Corporation. In 1924, 300 looms were
added. In July 192 5 it was sold to Amory Browne & Company
who sold it in 1932 to Jacob Genensky.
Inc. 188 8
William J. Rotch was first president with William D. How-
land, treasurer, and Byron F. Card, manager, and the following
directors: — Horatio Hathaway, Thomas B. Tripp, Charles W.
Clifford, Morgan Rotch, and Charles W. Plummer. The orig-
inal capital was $3 5 0,000. A few years later the capital was in-
creased and No. 2 mill erected. The plant, located at the south
end of Orchard Street on Clark's Cove, became financially in-
volved in 1897 and was reorganized and continued operations
under the direction of Andrew G. Pierce, Jr. It continued under
that management until 1899 when it was sold to the New Eng-
land Cotton Yarn Company. In 1902 it was re-incorporated
as the Gosnold Mill.
HATHAWAY MFG. CO.
Inc. December 1888
Maximum capital $2,000,000
Horatio Hathaway was first president of the mill, named
for him, with Joseph F. Knowles, treasurer and manager. Other
directors were Jonathan Bourne, Sidney W. Knowles, Francis
Hathaway, William W. Crapo, Thomas E. Brayton. Subsequent
managers included James E. Stanton, Jr., and Seabury Stanton.
The plant is located on Cove Street west of the Dartmouth Mill.
It still operates.
CITY MFG. CO.
Maximum capital $750,000
spindles 5 9,064
Otis N. Pierce was first president of the City, with Ben-
jamin Wilcox treasurer and manager. Other directors included
Thomas B. Wilcox, Cyrenius W. Haskins, Thomas H. Knowles,
Edward Kilburn, J. P. Knowles, Jr., Stephen A. Jenks, William
H. Parker and Charles Tucker. Subsequent managers included
Frank S. Wilcox, John B. Strongman, and Samuel F. Winsper.
Originally a spinning mill, it operated until 1931. In 1931 it
was sold to the Prospect Realty Co. for liquidation. From 192 5
to 1931 the City Mfg. Co. operated a cloth mill in Taunton.
BENNETT MFG. CORP.
Frank R. Hadley was president and treasurer and Lewis E.
Bentley, manager of the Bennett, with the following directors:
— Stephen W. Hayes, Antone L. Sylvia, Henry A. Holcomb, W.
E. Brownell, Joseph A. Beauvais, Charles W. Brownell, John J.
Hicks and William Lewis.
COLUMBIA SPINNING CO.
Capital $5 00,000
The Columbia was built by the same group as the Bennett.
Frank R. Hadley was president and treasurer, with Charles W.
Brownell, Antone L. Sylvia, William Lewis, William E. Brown-
ell, Stephen W. Hayes, Henry A. Holcomb, and J. A. Brownell,
directors. Both the Bennett and the Columbia came to serious
difficulty, along with some other yarn mills in the city in 1897
at which time the management of both the Bennett and Colum-
bia was taken over by James E. Stanton, Jr., who continued the
operations of the mills until 1899 when they were both pur-
chased by the New England Cotton Yarn Company. The Ben-
nett became Depts. 1 and 2 while the Columbia became Depts.
3 and 4. The mills were located together, on the waterfront
just north of Coggeshall St. In 1917 the Cotton Yarn Co. sold
them to a new Corporation, the Fairhaven Mills.
Maximum capital $1,000,000
Thomas H. Knowles was first president of the Bristol, with
Benjamin Wilcox, treasurer and manager. Other directors were
William H. Parker, Thomas B. Wilcox, Rufus A. Soule and
Cyrenius W. Haskins. Operations were begun in 1893. Sub-
sequent managers included Frank Neild, John Neild, Frank S.
Wilcox, Edward O. Knowles, Charles A. Morrison, and John
L. Burton. The plant, located at the corner of Coggeshall St.
and Belleville Ave., was liquidated between 1930 and 1932,
when the buildings went to the city for taxes. The mill was
torn down as a civil works project, demolition being completed
March 24, 193 3. 1,900,000 brick were salvaged from the Bristol,
and were used to build the High School addition, the municipal
garage, the Water Department garage, the Buttonwood Park
recreational center, and an addition to the Vocational School.
Some of the planking was used to repair the Coggeshall St. bridge.
PIERCE MFG. CORP.
Inc. March 3, 1892
Maximum capital $600,000
Andrew G. Pierce was first president of the Pierce Mfg.
Corp, with Andrew G. Pierce, Jr. as treasurer and manager and
Albert R. Pierce, agent. Other directors included Edward T.
Pierce, Walter Clifford, Lemuel T. Terry, and Morgan Rotch.
The plant is located at Belleville Ave. and is still (1937) oper-
ROTCH SPINNING CO.
Inc. Nov. 5, 1892
Maximum capital $1,02 5,000
spindles 15 0,000
William J. Rotch was first president, with William D. How-
land, treasurer, and Byron F. Card, Supt. Charles W. Clifford
and Morgan Rotch were members of the directorate. This
corporation like several others became financially involved in
1897 and was operated for the next two years in connection
with the Howland Mills under the direction of Andrew G. Pierce,
Jr., treasurer. The plant was sold to the N. E. Cotton Yarn Co.
in 1899, becoming Depts. 7 and 8. In 1916 sold to the Passaic
Mills, later the American Cotton Fabric Corp. In 1917 this
firm constructed a $5 00,000 addition, known as the Penrod Mill,
with 30,000 spindles. In 1924 the plant was split between the
Fisk and Goodyear rubber companies, Goodyear taking Depts.
1, 2 and 3, and leasing part of 4. The plant is located on Or-
chard St., next to the Gosnold. It still functions.
Inc. June 17, 189S
Maximum capital $3,000,000
The Whitman was promoted by the converting firm of
Harding and Whitman, with Frank R. Hadley of New Bedford
as first president and Charles C. Diman, treasurer. Directors
included Abbott P. Smith, Henry A. Holcomb, George E. Briggs,
Lewis E. Bentley, Edgar Harding, and William Whitman. Sub-
sequent managers included William A. Congdon, Albert G.
Mason, Treasurer and Walter B. Hall. At the time of the split
between the Harding and Whitman interests, the Whitman mill,
went to Harding. Liquidation of the plant, located on Coffin
Ave., east of the site of Manomet No. 1 and 2, was begun in
1931. The corporation was dissolved in 1933, and the buddings
went to the city for taxes. In 1934 the weave shed was demol-
ished as an ERA project.
Inc. Aug. 20, 1895
Maximum capital $4,600,000
Rufus A. Soule was first president of the Dartmouth, with
James W. Allen, treasurer, Walter H. Langshaw, manager, and
the following directors: Abbott P. Smith, Charles E. Riley, Ste-
phen A. Jenks, Thomas H. Knowles, Gilbert Allen, Thomas B.
Tripp, Frederic Taber, Nataniel B. Kerr, Clarence A. Cook,
and Arnold Schaer. Subsequently Mr. Langshaw became presi-
dent and under his management the mill was very profitable and
expanded greatly, one addition being known as the Langshaw
Mill. In March, 193 3, the plant was sold to the Cove Realty Co.,
for liquidation, but in June of that year it was sold again to the
Powdrell-Dartmouth Corporation. It has been reorganized as
the Dartmouth Mills, Inc., and is now operating under man-
agement of F. A. Powdrell and H. H. Pepler. The plant is lo-
cated at the east end of Cove St., next to the Hathaway.
BEACON MFG. CO.
Originally incorporated August 17, 1896
Maximum capital $3,000,000
spindles 20,3 5 2
In 1904 Charles D. Owen, Sr. and Charles O. Dexter of
Providence promoted the rehabilitation of an almost defunct
concern known as the Beacon Mfg. Co. The building, located
on County Street at the head of Deane, had been begun by the
Mr. Pleasant Mfg. Co., which failed before the plant was com-
pleted. Its successor, the original Beacon, also failed within a
year after its beginning. Chas. E. Riley was president of this
venture, with A. de Cort, treasurer. The machinery was sold
and sent to Paducah, Ky. The property had been vacant for
six years when it was taken over by the new management. Henry
Taber was first president. Charles D. Owen was first treasurer,
and Charles O. Dexter, manager. Under their management the
mill became famous as manufacturer of Beacon blankets. Mr.
Owen was succeeded by his son, Charles D. Owen, Jr., who died
May 24, 1937. The present treasurer is the third Charles D.
In 192 5 one third of the machinery was moved to a new
plant at Swannanoa, North Carolina, and in 1933 the removal
of the remaining machinery from the New Bedford plant was
begun. The building here is being used at present as the comp-
Inc. Feb. 14, 1901
Maximum capital $1,260,000
Rufus A. Soule, for whom the mill was named, was its first
president, with Frederick B. Macy, treasurer. Abbot P. Smith,
Arnold Schaer, Frederic Taber, Charles F. Shaw, and George R.
Stetson were the original directors. Subsequent managers in-
cluded Rufus A. Soule, Jr. and Frederic H. McDevitt. The
plant is located on the waterfront, north of the Fairhaven Mills
buildings and still operates.
Inc. April 14, 1902
Maximum capital $2,000,000
spindles 12 5,000
William M. Butler was first president of the mill named
for him, with Nathaniel B. Kerr, manager. Directors included
Abbott P. Smith, Rufus A. Soule, Matthew R. Hitch, Guy Mur-
chie, and Frederick B. Macy. Subsequent managers were Walter
PI. Underdown, Morgan Butler, Joseph W. Bailey and James A.
Adams. In 1922 the Butler took over the Nemasket mill in
Taunton. The Butler plant, located on Rodney French Boule-
vard between Ruth and David Streets, was sold to Associated
Textiles in 1931. In 1933 it went into receivership, and was
abandoned to the city in 1935.
Inc. June 20, 1902
Maximum capital $3,300,000
Formerly the Howland Mill, the Gosnold was formed with
Richard M. Saltonstall as president and John C. Rice treas-
urer. Directors included James E. Stanton, J. Frank Knowles,
Flenry Endicott, Jr., Joseph Remick, William S. Benedict and
Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Subsequent managers included James O.
Thompson, John B. Strohman, Charles M. Holmes, and Allan
Barrows. The New England Cotton Yarn Co., sold the Gosnold
to Harding and Tilton in 1916. In 1929 it was reorganized as
the Gosnold Mills Corporation. The plant is located on Clark's
Cove at the foot of Orchard St. and still operates.
Inc. Oct. 3, 1903
Maximum capital $8,000,000
operatives 4,5 00
Edgar Harding was first president of the Manomet, with
Arnold C. Gardner treasurer. The original board of directors
included William Whitman, William F. Draper, G. Marston
Whitin, Charles M. Holmes, George E. Kunhardt, and Charles
W. Leonard. Subsequent managers included Jesse A. Knight
and Walter A. Fuller. No. 2 mill was built in 1907-8, No. 3
in 1916, and No. 4, the largest single spinning unit in the world,
in 1920-22. The first three mills were built together near the
Whitman, but No. 4 was built farther west, between Church
St. and the railroad. Liquidation of the mammoth plant was
begun in 1927. No. 4, which had never been operated at
capacity, was sold to the Firestone Rubber Co. in 1927. No. 3
had been sold to the Nashawena and had been converted to weav-
ing, in 1925. No. 1 and 2 were sold in 1928 to the Delaware Ray-
on Co., and became the New Bedford Rayon Co.
Inc. Aug. 24, 1904
Maximum capital $2,250,000
operatives 1,2 5
A spinning mill, the Kilburn was promoted by the Fales
& Jenks Machinery Co. and Abbott P. Smith. Edward Kilburn,
for whom the mill was named, was its first president, with Henry
L. Tiffany, treasurer and manager, and Andrew Currier, agent.
Among the original directors were Abbott P. Smith, Matthew
R. Hitch, Fred W. Easton and William W. Reed. George B.
Knowles later became manager of the mill. The plant, which
was enlarged in 1915, is located on Clark's Cove at the beginning
of Rodney French Boulevard and still operates.
Inc. March 23, 1906
Maximum capital $1,200,000
Russell Grinnell was first president of the Page, with John
W. Knowles, manager. Directors included Henry H. Crapo,
Oliver Prescott, Jr., John W. Knowles, Eliot D. Stetson, and
John H. Clifford. Walter H. Page subsequently became man-
ager. In 1920 it was purchased by Textile Factors, Inc., a
Harding-Tilton subsidiary, and was merged with the Gosnold.
In 1927 it was again sold to Kidder-Peabody interests for half a
million dollars and was made part of a group of mills under the
corporate name of United Merchants and Manufacturers, Inc.,
headed by Homer Loring. 16,000 spindles from the Manomet
were added to the Page in 1928, and 5 00 new automatic looms
were installed in 1933. Operations were suspended in 1935.
Inc. April 5, 1906
Maximum capital $2,000,000
Frederic Taber was first president of the mill, with Rufus A.
Soule, Jr. manager. Original directors included Abbot P. Smith,
Rufus A. Soule, Frederick H. Taber, Frederic B. Macy, William
C. Hawes, Edmund W. Bourne, and George R. Phillips. Sub-
sequent managers included John Sullivan, William E. Kern,
Walter H. Page, Andrew W. Macy, and R. G. Ferguson. As
originally planned, the spinning department was to have been
known as the Quansett Mill, but this name was abandoned. The
Taber purchased the Corr plant in Taunton in 1926. The
Taunton mill was turned over to a separate corporation, the
Riverside Corp., in 1932. The Taber received an R. F. C. loan
in 1934 and petitioned to reorganize under the federal bank-
ruptcy act April 30, 1937.
NONQUIT SPINNING CO.
Inc. Nov. 13, 1906
Maximum capital $4,800,000
William Whitman was first president of the Nonquit, with
Leonard C. Lapham, treasurer and Andrew J. Currier, manager.
Original directors included William Whitman, William F. Drap-
er, Charles W. Leonard, Richard S. Russell, George M. Whitin,
Arthur T. Bradlee, and Malcolm Campbell. Subsequent man-
agers included Fred W. Hayes, and P. Leroy Lamb. In 1929
the "Spinning" was dropped from the firm name, it being re-
organized as the Nonquit Mills, with a weaving department.
Mill No. 1 has been leased to the Edgar Weaving Co., and the
New Bedford Mfg. Co.
Inc. June 16, 1909
Maximum capital $7,S00,000
William Whitman was first president of the Nashawena,
with William B. Gardner as treasurer. Original directors in-
cluded George E. Bullard, Robert H. Gardner, George E. Kuhn-
hardt, Charles W. Leonard, Richard S. Russell, George M. Whitin,
Malcolm D. Whitman and George A. Draper. Managers included
John L. Burton and John Kirk. The plant, located on Belleville
Avenue north of Manomet Nos. 1 and 2, included the largest
weave shed in the world. Additions were built in 1916, and 1920-
22. In 192 5 the Nashawena purchased and enlarged Manomet
No. 3, converting it to weaving. This building, known as B
plant, was sold to General Cotton in 1927. The Nashawena
closed down in July, 1935. Part of the plant was reopened in
NEW BEDFORD COTTON MILLS
Inc. April 13, 1909
Maximum capital $1,816,000
William M. Butler was first president of this mill, and
Walter H. Underdown, manager. Original directors included
Abbott P. Smith, William C. Hawes, and Nathaniel B. Kerr.
With the Butler, the N. B. Cotton Mills became part of Asso-
ciated Textiles in 1929, which has since been liquidated.
ANDERSON TEXTILE MFG. CO.
Inc. May 3, 1909
John C. Anderson was first president of this mill, with
Charles S. Kelley, Charles S. Kelley, Jr. and Matthew R. Hitch
members of the board of directors. With a capital of $18,100,
the concern had 2,400 spindles and employed 18 men. It was
dissolved in 1911.
HOLMES MFG. CO.
Inc. May 18, 1909
Maximum capital $1,200,000
spindles 69, 552
Charles L. Harding was first president with Charles M.
Holmes, for whom the mill was named, as manager. The orig-
inal board of directors included Earnest A. Wheaton, J. Henry
Herring, Stephen W. Hayes, E. Russell Richardson, William L.
Mauran and William A. Congdon. Subsequent managers in-
cluded Daniel R. Weeden and Joseph D. Murray. In January,
1934 the Holmes was sold to the Kendall Corporation for $60,-
000 and two years' back taxes. 75 looms were added, since
increased to 900.
PIERCE BROS. LIMITED
Inc. June 29, 1909
Maximum capital $700,000
spindles 5 3,000
operatives 5 00
Andrew G. Pierce, Jr. was original president of this mill,
with Edward T. Pierce, treasurer and Albert R. Pierce, manager.
After a considerable shut-down, the mill was reopened March 1,
1937, under the management of Fred W. Steele.
NEILD MFG. CORP.
Inc. March 10, 1910
Maximum capital $1,200,000
John Neild was first president of the mill, with Joseph W.
Allen, treasurer. Original directors included Charles M. Cole,
Frederic H. Taber, Rufus A. Soule, Frank Croacher, F. William
Oesting, and Frank S. Wilcox. Frank I. Neild later took over
the management. The plant was enlarged in 1925, when an
addition was made to the weave shed. It is still operating.
Inc. April 2, 1910
Maximum capital $2,306,000
William M. Butler was first president of the Quisset, with
Thomas F. Glennon, agent and Edward H. Cook, treasurer.
Abbott P. Smith, Frederic Taber and Frank J. Hale were also
directors. Operations were begun in 1912. The plant was later
converted to include rayon spinning. It is still operating.
BOOTH MFG. CO.
Inc. July 27, 1910
Maximum capital $2,296,900
spindles 5 6,164
The Booth, named for its first manager, George H.
Booth, was promoted in part by the Crompton & Knowles
Loom Works and the H. & B. American Machine Co. George
S. Homer was first president, with Frederic R. Brown, treasurer,
and directors including George H. Booth, William L. Mauren,
Oliver F. Brown, T. S. Carpenter, C. H. Hutchins, and Charles
E. Riley, who succeeded Mr. Homer as president. Subsequent
managers included Fred W. Steele, Frank I. Neild, Joseph W.
Bailey, Earl C. Miller, Edgar F. Taber, and Allen G. Shaw. The
plant is located on Rodney French Boulevard, south of the
Holmes. Still operating.
Inc. June 3, 1910
Maximum capital $3,817,000
The mill was named for Arthur R. Sharp, at first treas-
urer and later president. First president was Joseph T. Kenney.
Directors included William H. Bent, Charles P. Curtis, Grank
Brewster and I. W. Curtis. Subsequent managers included Rob-
ert Schofield, I. W. Curtis, and Frank C. Sawtell. A second
mill was erected in 1916-17, and the first looms were installed
in 1921. Operations were stopped in 1928, machinery being
auctioned in June, 1929. Final liquidation came in 1937, when
the buildings were purchased by Rockdale Mills, Inc. "for manu-
facturing purposes" and razed.
014 077 335 9 #
Inc. Feb. 3, 1917
Maximum capital $3,500,000
Charles L. Harding was first president, with James Thom-
son, manager. Other directors were Stephen W. Hayes, Charles
M. Holmes, Nathaniel F. Ayer, C. Minot Weld, H. A. Wyman,
Edward Burbeck, and Edward A. Taft. The plant was pur-
chased from the N. E. Cotton Yarn Co., consisting of the old
Bennett and Columbia mills. Subsequent managers included
Charles M. Holmes, Edgar F. Taber and Ernest R. Haswell.
The mill was not successful, first step in dissolution being the
formation of the Pemaquid mill in 1924. Consisting of Dept. 3
(formerly no. 1 Columbia) the Pemaquid had a nominal capital
of $1,050,000 and 33,516 spindles, and was converted to weaving
by installation of 45 6 looms. Mr. Harding was president, Al-
bert G. Mason, treasurer, and Walter B. Hall, agent. Frederic
Thomas later succeeded Mr. Mason. In 1932 the Pemaquid was
purchased and liquidated By Jerome A. Newman, acting for
The Fairhaven was sold at auction in 1930, to Frederic W.
Greene of Newport. Subsequently the Fairhaven Real Estate
Co. was formed, formed preferred stockholders recieving com-
mon stock. Since then, the Fairhaven buildings have been rented
to a number of small enterprises, including silk manufacturers,
clothing companies and a pocket-book concern.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
014 077 335 9
Mill Run FOS-2193